My Pre-school only applied for 37 weeks funding instead of 38.

(29 Posts)
Oblomov Wed 24-Apr-13 16:36:43

My Pre-school only applied for 37 weeks funding instead of 38. They made an administrative error. The county council did not comment. (Bet they didn't because they were saving money by only having to give 37 weeks money for all the children, instead of 38, which could add up to quite a lot, one presumes).
Nursery published its calendar dates.
Then some of the parents approached them, asking why the nursery was closing early, why it wasn't open one week.
And they admitted that they had made a miscalculation.
And that was that. That was all they said.

Well actually i am a bit very cross. I had to arrange for my son to be looked after. I had to pay extra chilcare. Whilst I went to work and my eldest ds1 was still at school that week, because his school was open, as my youngests pre-school also really should have been. It cost me alot and was very incovenient.

But the other thing is , that it sems so silly, becasue my son is 'entitled' to this funding from the county council.

My nursery is fabulous. And I didn't want to be a pain. But my son is leaving there in a few months to start school. And I knew that many many of the parents had holidays booked for quite a few of the weeks , in the next couple of months.
So I thought to myself. No harm in asking.
So I asked. "It is it possible for my son to have the days that he is supposed to, can you fit them in, in the next few months"= basically what I asked.

They refused. It would be unfair to the other parents if they offered me something that they can not offer to all paretns.
That argument seems a bit weak.
Plus I don't want to sound like a 'entitled maradona', which I am sure I am sounding here wink, but seriously, am I right in thinking that my son is seriously entiteld to this. I am quite out of pocket. And the council must be laughing all the way to the bank!!

and the fact they made an admin error, in the number of weeks they calculated, when making their county council application, is really their issue, not mine.

They can offer me extra days. I know this because 8 parentsh have told me that they are going on holiday , so their child won't be in nursery for a week, in May and June. So I 'assume' that if 8 children are away for a week. Then the nursery should not have 'too' much problem in offering me the days I have missed.

But they will not.

Is there anything I can do? Or it is pointless?

I am an Administrator for a Pre-School and it is a headache trying to work out hours to claim for each child. Our county does it by total hours per child so I need to look at Mondays for B/Hols etc. If a child does more that 15 hours you need to work out which sessions to charge for ie the day of the week with the least days per term in if that makes sense. It was probably the autumn term they miscalculated - I miscounted the weeks as week and had to redo the invoices - it was longer than usual.
Our Council is hot on the total number of hours you can claim - 570 a year and I need to do a running total on each child for that as well - it is not as easy as you might think - the running total starts from the child's first funded term so if the child is three in March the count starts in the summer term and goes through to the following spring - this causes problems if Easter is early one year and late the next like this year- the summer is a lot longer than normal and the spring term was shorter but next year it will be more even. So a child this term could claim 13 weeks next autumn 14 but that means only 11 left for next spring..

I am sure that the pre-schools do not HAVE to offer the 15 hrs over 38 weeks although they are certainly encouraged to, a private one near us is closing one week into July. Our Council form states that it is parent choice whether to go to a setting which does not offer the full entitlement.

Some Councils let you make amendments for mistakes like this - ours does not. If it happens to me I would do who the OP tried to do and offer extra sessions in the termtime but of course this is dependent on spaces and if you have a full time child there is nothing you can offer them.

lborolass Fri 26-Apr-13 18:58:06

This is just illustrating even more that the process isn't transparent and is disadvantaging some parents through no fault of their own - did you manage to find out any further information today Oblomov?

RegularVoltaire Thu 25-Apr-13 23:14:54

Actually scrap that, I'm pretty sure that it's the Councils duty to ensure that there are sufficient childcare providers who do offer a minimum of 38 weeks but not all providers have to offer it ...

RegularVoltaire Thu 25-Apr-13 23:03:07

Just typed a reply and lost it ... I'll try again ...

You're right iborolass, it is no fewer than 38 weeks, I was thinking of something different.

In this case though the nursery could open the required number of weeks, it just made an administrative error.

lborolass Thu 25-Apr-13 22:51:41

Regularvoltaire - it's not ideal having different rules in different LAs, I've had a quick google and the first couple of links I looked at (neither my own LA) say that settings must be open for no less than 38 weeks and will follow school term dates.

I must say I'm surprised that some pre schools are allowed to do less than the minimum time as parents aren't necessarily going to be able to find a place elsewhere.

If it was me I'd still ring the LA to confirm

RegularVoltaire Thu 25-Apr-13 22:33:43

Also the short fall was in the spring term - that term is now closed.

RegularVoltaire Thu 25-Apr-13 22:32:40

That's not the case in our LA iborolass.

Some settings aren't able to open for the full 38 weeks because of various restrictions (Church halls etc) and that's fine as long as the parents are aware. If they don't like it, they vote with their feet.

Obviously in this case the parents weren't aware, but that's because it was an error on the nursery's part.

lborolass Thu 25-Apr-13 22:17:26

I'm pretty sure that when my children were at playgroup I was told that the playgroup had to be open exactly the same term dates as the schools in the LA as they had to provide the fulll 38 weeks to qualify for funding which makes sense.

I'd definitely ring the LA and clarify this, it doesn't seem right that you should miss out, as the final payments won't have been made for the Summer term maybe it's not too late to get something sorted out.

RegularVoltaire Thu 25-Apr-13 22:10:08

In our LA the Headcount Form has the total number of hours for the term and you sign to say it's correct. The Parental Contracts don't state the total hours for the term as they are generic forms and it wouldn't be possible given that the maximum weeks available vary from term to term.

I can see perfectly why your miffed Oblomov and I would be equally miffed, particularly with the attitude of the nursery, however, I really can't see what can be done.

The council can't pay because the term is closed, and the nursery are unlikely to be able to pay for all the extra non-funded hours out of their own pockets, so to speak. You signed the Headcount to say that it was a true record of what your child is claiming so I suspect that legally you have nowhere to go.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 25-Apr-13 19:05:38

Lljkk, most pre schools make little money so they are prob worried about free 15 hours x 20 or however many kids they have - that would cost them something like £1,000 in lost subsidy.

lljkk Thu 25-Apr-13 14:43:09

Our forms actually listed the total hours available to claim for the term, so I am intrigued that other councils don't tell you that; total hours is how you can figure out if you've claimed the max or whether to claim more from which provider, etc. And there were 2 sets of forms to fill in (been a while so am fuzzy now how they differed).

I am not sure why a 15 hour deficit in preschool education matters so much, although I agree it's odd the nursery don't just let you have a few sessions when others are absent. Maybe it doesn't work under their insurance terms.

Oblomov Thu 25-Apr-13 12:00:36

Our forms are very easy to fill in. In fact the nursery does it for you. You only need to sign.

It consists of :
Childs name
Childs dob
Box: monday am, moday pm, tuesday am, tuesday pm., etc.
The nursery fills it in.
They put 3 in the box for monday am, and 3 in the box for monday pm, and then they continue, for he particualr days htta your child attends. Total number of hours claimed = 15 ( some parents might only chose to use 12 etc, but I claim 15).

Another q is: Are you splitting your care with another provider. If so, who and how many hours.

Parent signature.

That's it.

I checked the boxes. Yes there were 3 hours in each of the am and pm boxes I was claiming. Yes it added up to 15. All was correct. I signed
Jobs a good un.

NOWHERE on our form does it say what our term dates are, or whetehr you car claiming for a 14 week term, and 11 week term, a 12 week term
Or if it does I never saw that bit. Or maybe the nursery fills thta bit in later, after the parents have signed.

lljkk: "You want something for free."
Er hmm. Yes, I do. I want what every other child gets. 38 weeks of pre-school. Not 37. 38 is what I want. It is what my pre-school SHOULD have claimed for. They didn'ty even realsie they had made a mistake until the parents pointed it out to them,. Then they rang the council. Who said, "oh yes, we did notice that. we thought it was bit odd. But if that's what you claimed for, thats what we paid." - that was what the manager told us the council had said.

So do I want something for free. Yes I fllippin well do. The fact,
lljkk , "not a childcare subsidy", er sorry, what's that got to do with it? What I choose to do. Work or sit at home, whilst my son is at pre-school for 15 hours a week, 38 weeks of the year, if not the point.
Its not relevant whether i work or not.

Even if I did not work, I would still want my son at nursery for the days he is supposed to be there. Paid for by the council. Yes I do feel entitled. He is supposed to be there. the only reason that he is not is becasue the pre-school made a major admin error in their application for funding.

My sons lost a week of nursery. He should ahev been there for htat week.
I am miffed. Not at the council. But at the pre-school. Does that surprise you? That I am miffed?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 25-Apr-13 11:44:27

It's not the parent forms that are the issue, it's that the nursery was open for one less week than the maximum, then the parents would have used the term dates supplied on the form.

Op would be entitled to claim 15 hours for one week from another provider if she could find one.

lljkk Thu 25-Apr-13 10:22:40

It's really hard to fill those forms in incorrectly confused, ime.

(ime) The forms come direct from council & tell you exactly how many hours you're entitled to. They help you work out specifically how many you're claiming for from which provider. Typically the Nursery will have forms, too, but the system insists on parents signing a Council-claim form because many parents spread their hours over more than one provider.

EskSmith Thu 25-Apr-13 10:16:21

Meant to say the council are not to blame here, they have paid what was claimed for.

EskSmith Thu 25-Apr-13 10:15:08

Your provider made the mistake - although presumably you signed to say that what they were claiming was correct?

I can see that they wouldn't be able to offer extra days, but they should be open to negotiate on taking the 15 hours you are missing out on off the hours you do pay for.

RegularVoltaire Thu 25-Apr-13 10:00:39

In my LA it would be no chance simply because those terms are now closed and the administration process has been completed.

It's definitely the fault of the nursery and not the council, but it is unusual that the short term wasn't picked up and questioned at spring Headcount. That said, the council is proving funding for a lot of settings, not just one and it's up to the providers to ensure they are claiming for the full amount of weeks.

lljkk Thu 25-Apr-13 09:53:13

Are you willing to pay for the extra days? I think that's the problem. You want something for free.

Nursery messed up but it's an education grant, not a childcare subsidy.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 25-Apr-13 08:48:39

I suppose the legal point is that the nursery would be free to set its term dates and could have deliberately chosen to have a term that's one week shorter. I guess there's a legal minimum but it's probably less than 37 weeks.

It would be good if they made a gesture like a discount or even were a bit more apologetic but I'm not sure that there's legally any recourse sad

Oblomov Thu 25-Apr-13 07:58:10

Thanks. I agre with Snatch. Its not the CC fault. Its the nursery thta made the mistake. But instead of correcting it, they just smiled and said 'oh well'.
I am not sure what to ask the nursewry for, but I will think of something.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 25-Apr-13 07:17:25

Can the nursery give you a discount on your extra pm session equivalent to the week's funding?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 25-Apr-13 07:10:25

I don't think the CC is in the wrong here - from its perspective, it received term dates and fully funded those dates.

lougle Thu 25-Apr-13 07:00:17

I think what Voltaire means is that they won't change it retrospectively, but they may be able to change this term if it's this term that they only have 11 weeks funding instead of 12, say.

Oblomov Thu 25-Apr-13 06:40:43

Thanks Voltaire.
I wonder why you say I have no chance if it is the spring or autumn term. I don't quite understand why it makes a difference.
It was the spring term.
I think, although I may be wrong, that we had a long autumn term.
Anyway, my son has missed out on days. It has cost me alot to get extra childcare. And the nursery seem to take a 'no harm done' attitude.
It just seems so unfair. In perspective, this is not a life changing thing wink, but I do hate it when I have been ripped off/had/ trivilaised to.
2 full days childcare, to me, is quite alot out of my wages.

RegularVoltaire Wed 24-Apr-13 23:56:10

Ring the Funding Team at the council and ask them for advice.

Funding is done termly based on a 'Headcount' of children. Each term has a Headcount date and parents sign the Headcount to say that their child is present in the setting on that date, and that the hours that the child is claiming are correct.

Each term has a maximum number of weeks that can be claimed for. This varies across the terms but cannot add up to more than 38 weeks a year.
Which term had the shortfall of weeks?
If it was the autumn 12 or spring 13 term, imo you have no chance. If it is the summer 13 term that has the shortfall of weeks then there may be something the council can do about it.

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